Dancing across the years at Perkins High

PERKINS TWP. Amid the bumping and grinding at the prom last night, some Perkins High School students
susanmcmillan
May 24, 2010

PERKINS TWP.

Amid the bumping and grinding at the prom last night, some Perkins High School students may have come down with the jitterbug.

The sociology classes' gerontology unit came to a timely close Friday with dancing lessons from senior citizens.

Jenna Faetanini, 18, said she might try some of her new swing or foxtrot moves at prom.

"I think we should," she said. "It would be fun to see everyone whip this out and dance like that."

Joe Bores' sociology students have spent weeks corresponding with senior citizens and studying aging and ageism.

This week, Serving Our Seniors director Sue Daugherty recruited senior citizens to visit the classes each day for conversations, games and -- on Friday -- dancing.

Students at Sandusky High School will have a similar program next week.

Bores said teenagers and older people experience the most ageism and have a lot to learn from each other.

"The main thing is breaking down stereotypes that both groups have of each other, because really they find that most of those aren't true," Bores said.

The dance lessons went both ways. After swinging and trotting, teens led the senior citizens through a round of the "Cha-Cha Slide."

When the song asked "How low can you go?" the older dancers twisted down just as close to the floor as their greener counterparts.

"Learning from them has put a whole different perspective on their dances from ours," said Shelbi Sullivan, a student. "Nowadays it's more relaxed and not as elegant as it was back then."

Ralph and Linda Roshong have helped teach the classes since the program started nine years ago.

"Hopefully they'll pick up on that, because it's a nice lifetime thing," said Ralph, 72. "We're out every weekend, dancing."